Frequently asked questions about Advanced English 97

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This list was started on Feb 5, 1998. Last modified:

(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Dec 2, 1997)
Question:
How to easily back up Advanced English 97? In Advanced English 94 the entire system could be compressed to a 1.4 MB file!
Answer:
Only SuperMemo 8.4 solves this problem nicely. You can backup the learning process only. This way only the data pertaining to items in the learning process will be stored (not items themselves). Use File : Export : Learning process to export the data. Later, upon reinstalling Advanced English 97, you can restore the learning process with File : Import : Learning process


(Pawel Brzozowski, Poland, Mar 11, 1998)
Question:
How can I remove pictures from Advanced English?
Answer:

You can delete ELEMENTS subdirectory. This will eliminate all multimedia files from your hard drives. Only sounds will be unaffected. Those are kept on Advanced English #2 CD-ROM.
Alternatively, you could use Process branch : Template : Merge with template on the Contents window's pop-up menu to apply a new template to the entire Advanced English. If your template does not have an image component, all images will be deleted.


(Bobby Faulkner, US, Jan 4, 1998)
Question:
Although I am a native speaker, in reading about Advanced English at your web site I thought it would be beneficial to try, not only for me, but for my two teen-agers as well. My daughter will be attending the University of Washington in 1999 and is interested in journalism. While I don't know the contents of Advanced English as yet and based on what I have seen on the SuperMemo demo, I believe I will be satisfied! Would you agree with me?
Answer:
We went through some of the material with native Americans and they used to have problems with over 50% of the items. They all agreed that learning Advanced English would be beneficial to their language skills! Advanced English indeed contains lots of advanced vocabulary, specialized terminology (technology, medicine, business, etc.), proverbs, idioms, etc. that are worth knowing. Additionally it is "GRE rich", i.e. it contains full lists of vocabulary required for GRE tests. There are two problems however:

  1. the material is sorted for difficulty, and items in the first 2000 might simply be of too little challenge. This could be solved by: (1) scrambling the pending queue (Tools : Randomize : Pending), or (2) learning individual sections only, e.g. Idioms, Loanwords, etc.
  2. non-natives enjoy every single item with direct benefit to their language skills. They often get "addicted". The material has a cross-word puzzle nature and could be fun but ... will a native speaker find enough motivation to go through it regularly?

(Harald Hammerl, Germany, Aug 7, 1998)
Question:
How can I upgrade my Advanced English 97 installation to SuperMemo 8.4?
Answer:

Run SM8ZIP.EXE, locate SM8.EXE in SM8 directory, and copy the new SM8.EXE into the installation directory chosen for Advanced English at installation. Note that first time you run Advanced English, the upgrade will be done automatically. You can input your registration password in the same way as specified in the instructions you received when registering SuperMemo 8.4


(Jan Gromadzki, Poland, Jul 11, 1998)
Question:
I bought Advanced English 97 and I cannot pass through the introduction. There are arrows pointing to icons that ... do not exist. What is wrong?
Answer:
You need a sound board installed in your computer (this is listed among minimum requirements!). Some script commands do not work without a sound board and the introduction part is largely run by scripts. If you want to use Advanced English without sound do the following:


(Jorge Adam Cleto Cohn, Brazil, Nov 5, 1998)
Question:
Is English Grammar collection of Advanced English based on exercises only or is there a review of grammar theory?
Answer:
There are no theoretical reviews. All items are based on practical examples


(Gabor Schmera, US, Dec 13, 1997)
Question:
How do I add a recorder component to my items (as it is done in Advanced English 97)?
Answer:
Add a sound component and check Recorder on this pop-up menu.


(Adam Salamon, Poland, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
Over the last year, I have memorized 10,000 items in Advanced English 94. Can I now upgrade my learning results to Advanced English 97?
Answer:
Unfortunately there isn't any simple way!. You might try one of the following solutions:


(Anatolyi Lipatov, Ukraine, Jul 12, 1998)
Question:
I am using Advanced English to enhance my English and business English.
Now I am registering for CFA examination (that is Chartered Financial Analyst program of Association of Investment Management and Research). There are several organizations developing and distributing methodological stuff for preparing to the exam. A lot of things should be memorized for passing the exam. What do you think the best way to fit SuperMemo for memorization and what approach should I use to prepare my own knowledge base for memorizing the material. Is special programming knowledge needed for it?
Answer:
No specialist knowledge is needed to prepare simple knowledge systems in SuperMemo. With Ctrl+A (i.e. Add new item) you get 90% of functionality! All advanced editing options can be worked around by an appropriate questions-and-answer approach. Perhaps it would be useful yet to learn how to add images to your items (see help for details). To learn more about effectively structuring knowledge in SuperMemo you might want to read Knowledge Structuring and Representation; however, nothing works better as learning on one's own mistakes in formulating knowledge for learning with SuperMemo.


(Michal Grodzki, Poland, Aug 20, 1998)
Question:
You advice the users of Advanced English 97 to make back-up copies with File : Export : Learning process. However, this does not back up the material introduced by the user. What is the best solution in a case when I want to add lots of my own items to Advanced English?
Answer:
You might try one of the following:

  1. Keep your own material in a separate collection. You can back such a collection by compressing the <system name>.kno file and the <system name> directory into a single archive (e.g. with WinZip)
  2. If you prefer to add your items to Advanced English (e.g. in order to be able to search all material in one go), you might back up the contents of a single branch by transferring it into an empty system with Tools : Transfer node on the contents pop-up menu or by exporting it as text with Tools : Export as text (also on the contents menu). You can later restore your back-up after reinstalling Advanced English with Tools : Transfer node in the opposite direction or with File : Import : Text in the latter case

(Dr Faust Malnig, Germany, May 1, 1997)
Question:
Why does not SuperMemo World license a professional English dictionary instead of developing proprietary material for Advanced English?
Answer:
No dictionary is adapted for specific SuperMemo purposes. Definitions in Advanced English are created with the view to easiness of remembering, brevity and univocality. This is a unique material that cannot be licensed from any source.


(E.Kubala, Denmark, Dec 17, 1998)
Question:
Will Advanced English work in Danish Windows? Will I get translations in Polish?
Answer:
Yes. Advanced English will work in Danish Windows as well as in any other Windows version. You will be able to display translations to Polish. It may be necessary, though, to choose the appropriate Polish font from Tools : Options : Language : Translation font (system font is used by default which in Danish Windows does not include Polish diacritical characters)


(Artur Osadowski, Poland, Sep 5, 1998)
Question:
Does the setting of Access Mode in Tools : Options : Data access affect the accessibility of sounds on CD-ROM?
Answer:
No. To make sure SuperMemo correctly reads sounds from CD-ROM, you only have to provide the correct path in Tools : Options : Data access : Secondary storage


(Wojciech Gawrys, Poland, Feb 21, 1998)
Question:
I am a network administrator. Can I install only one copy of Advanced English and let a number of students use it simultaneously?
Answer:

No. SuperMemo 8 does not provide multi-access option. For large student groups, it would be best to extract first 500-1000 items from Advanced English and provide each student with his own copy


(Markus Fah▀, Germany, Oct 24, 1998)
Question:
Does it make sense to order English Pronunciation from SuperMemo Library if I already own Advanced English and only want to use the phonetic transcription registry?
Answer:
No. It is enough you upgrade your Advanced English to SuperMemo 98 and use the phonetic transcription registry from Advanced English. You can select it in all your collections for learning English and have IPA phonetic transcription available


(Mu Huang, Taiwan, Oct 26, 1998)
Question:
I am studying for GRE. What product do you recommend?
Answer:
Advanced English. There is also a GRE Vocabulary List in the freeware section in SuperMemo Library


(Jiri Pik, Czech Republic, Oct 28, 1998)
Question:
I add my own items to Advanced English but I notice that adding new material goes slower and slower!
Answer:
Advanced English has a high Children Limit per Contents Node. If you reduce this number in Tools : Options : Appending, the performance should improve. The items you have already added can be arranged in branches with Tool : Arrange in folders in the contents window


(Tomasz Szkopek, Poland, Oct 29, 1998)
Question:
I am using both Advanced English and Deine Chancen. This means I have to swap CD-ROMs twice per day. I worry about wear-and-tear. I bought a large hard disk and plan to transfer all sound files there. How can I best do it?
Answer:

  1. You should not worry about wear-and-tear. Probably there has not yet been a user that would ask for CD-ROM replacement due to prolonged use
  2. If you lose access to a single sound file, you can always disconnect it with Links : Delete registry link on the component pop-up menu and continue working
  3. You can always count on CD-ROM replacement if the damage was not of your fault
  4. To copy all files to the hard disk you should open the collections on the CD-ROM and use File : Organize : Copy to transfer them to your hard disk. Remember to turn off read-only attribute on all files

(Lili Belsak, Slovenia, Feb 10, 1999)
Question:
I would like to use Advanced English on two computers. What is the easiest way to keep my learning process updated?
Answer:
This method will probably work best (you need SuperMemo 98 or 99 to use Export/Import: Learning process):

  1. Install Advanced English on both computers
  2. Make repetitions on Computer A
  3. When you want to move to Computer B, use File : Tools : Export : Learning process on Computer A and copy the generated files to Computer B
  4. On Computer B use File : Tools : Import : Learning process and import the file exported in Step 3
  5. Make repetitions on Computer B
  6. When you want to move back to Computer A, use Steps 3 to 5 analogously

Note that this method only transfers the learning process. If you want to edit the material, you would better introduce the corrections only on one of the computers. This way you will be able to avoid the need to copy all collection files between computers


(Charles Poon, Hong Kong, Mar 18, 1999)
Question:
What is the best way to upgrade Advanced English 97 to SuperMemo 99?
Answer:

This is the procedure:

  1. install Advanced English 97
  2. go through the introduction: just press Start and read instructions on the screen (the introduction includes about 100 items; including the material for learning English vocabulary)
  3. delete sm8.exe (SuperMemo 8) and put sm99.exe (SuperMemo 99) in its place
  4. open Advanced English (adveng.kno) in SuperMemo 99 with File : Open (the upgrade may take several minutes)
  5. if you would like to use the lexicon, you will yet need to run File : Repair collection with Rebuild lexicon checked

(Vit Usela, Czech Republic, Mar 23, 1999)
Question:
I have used SuperMemo 7 for a couple of years and would like to import my collections to Advanced English 97. However, I am afraid I will lose the easy control of the spelling exercises. Can you help?
Answer:

In new versions of SuperMemo, you cannot globally switch from standard repetitions to spelling exercises. At the moment of creating the material you must decide if it is best drilled as questions and answers or if the answer should be typed in from the keyboard. If you choose the latter, it is enough to define an appropriate template before you import from SuperMemo 7. In your template, instead of the answer component, you must simply create a SpellPad component


(Karlheinz Schlottbom, Germany, Apr 22, 1999)
Question:
I use a notebook and was disappointed to see that Advanced English comes on two CD-ROMs. If you used sound compression, the material would fit a single CD-ROM and could be run directly from the CD
Answer:

Advanced English only installs about 40 MBs of the first CD-ROM and all sound files are stored on the second CD-ROM. This way, you can use Advanced English by keeping only CD-ROM #2 in your CD-ROM drive. Optionally, you can delete the elements directory in the adveng subdirectory to save further 15 MB. This subdirectory holds images and accessory sound files that are not critical for the learning process (e.g. background images used in all items, music, etc.)


(Karlheinz Schlottbom, Germany, Apr 22, 1999)
Question:
Where can I find electronic documentation for Advanced English on the CD-ROM?
Answer:

Advanced English was built to be self-explanatory and by passing the introduction (delivered by SuperMemo), you will be able to effectively use the material. The documentation for SuperMemo is available with F1 from within SuperMemo. This documentation also includes some basic hints&tips for using Advanced English


(Tomasz Szkopek, Nov 15, 1999)
Question:
I upgraded Advanced English 97 to SuperMemo 99 and received the following error: Collection files access error ! Wrong A-Factor distribution. Is it dangerous?

Answer:
No. This is a harmless warning.
After upgrading all collections to SuperMemo 99, you will always need to run File : Repair collection with Basic recovery checked. This is needed to calculate new values of A-Factors as the interpretation of A-Factors has changed slightly in SuperMemo 99


(Tomasz Popielarz, USA, Nov 22, 1999)
Question:
I have memorized 4500 words in Advanced English and moved abroad taking only the CD-ROMs. I had a six-month-long break in learning. What files should my family send me to be able to restore my learning process? 

Answer:
Here are some solutions from easiest to hardest with decreasing loss to the learning process:

  1. Automatically, memorize the first 4500 items and reschedule them at random with 50-150 items/day. After 30-90 days of hardship, your learning process will not look much different than before the break. Forgotten items will naturally reenter the learning process with short intervals and those which are still remembered will be sent to deservedly long intervals
  2. Ask your family to send you only the subset file with all memorized items and proceed like in Point 1 (this way all items memorized with find&remember, etc. will not be skipped)
  3. Ask your family to run File : Tools : Export : Learning process and send you the resulting files. After reinstalling Advanced English, use File : Tools : Import : Learning process. You will still need Tools : Mercy to reschedule the outstanding items with a manageable number of repetitions per day

(Marjolein Hoekstra, the Netherlands, Nov 2, 1999)
Question:
I ordered SuperMemo 99, MegaMix 99 and Advanced English 97. I would like to learn Advanced English in optimum configuration. Can you advise?
Answer:
The optimum sequence is this:

  1. Install MegaMix and choose Advanced English 98 during the installation (this will provide you with the newest version of Advanced English texts)
  2. Delete sm98.exe and put sm99.exe in its place (this will make sure you use the newest version of SuperMemo). All collections will be upgraded automatically when you open them
  3. Open the collection ae98.kno (Advanced English 98), insert Disk #2 of Advanced English 97 to a CD-ROM drive and in Tools : Options : Data Access : Secondary storage provide the CD-ROM letter (this will connect Advanced English 98 with the CD-ROM #2 of Advanced English 97, which stores 27,000 sound files of this collection)

(Przemek S, Poland, June 8, 2000)
Question:

I used to regularly back up my Advanced English on a second hard disk. Today I tried to restore my backup and ... it looks as it is empty! Only one element inside! Help!!!

Answer:

There is a frequent mistake users make. To backup a collection, you need to copy both the kno file and the associated folder (e.g. file ae.kno and the folder [ae])(see: Collection files). Some inexperienced users copy only the kno file which is just 20KB of data! If you try to open an orphaned kno file, SuperMemo will reconstruct an empty folder structure. 

To avoid this problem: Always back up collections with File : Copy collection in SuperMemo. Do not use external tools unless you understand Windows, files, folders and SuperMemo very well!

To resolve the problem: it is possible the original folder associated with the kno file still exists on the hard disk! You can search for some files characteristic for SuperMemo (e.g. burden.dat or sm8opt.dat). Make an inventory of all kno files (search for *.kno) and all SuperMemo collection folders (search for burden.dat) on your hard disk. Once the inventory is made, try to carefully match up knos and folders and copy kno files to match the folders. Chances are that File : Open on one of these files will restore the lost backup. Note that you can easily find empty collections by checking the size of burden.dat. This file contains repetitions and is zero-sized on collections with no learning process